The Commandments of Surviving Your Debut Release Week by New Adult Author Alessandra Thomas

Posted by on Apr 19, 2013 in New Adult, Writing | 4 comments

The Commandments of Surviving Your Debut Release Week by New Adult Author Alessandra Thomas

The Commandments of Surviving Your Debut Release Week

What’s that? Your debut novel is being released this week?

Woohoo! Time to celebrate! Right?

Wrong. I mean, you might view it as a “celebration.” Either way, time to gird your sexy little loins, chickadee, because this is going to be one loooooong week.

(Some background – my debut novel, PICTURE PERFECT, came out three weeks ago. I’m still recovering. And so is my clicky finger.)

Without further ado,  here are my

1. PREPARE THYSELF for nerve-wracking self-publishing idiosyncrasies. For example:

– You can’t specify a time for your book to go live on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.  You are at the mercy of those retailers. Which means that it’s 99.99% likely that your book will go live either earlier or later than you want it to. Since you are responsible, you’ll choose “earlier,” in which case DOZENS of readers, friends, and family members will feel the need to text, call, email, or message you, saying, “HEY DID YOU KNOW YOUR BOOK IS LIVE ISN’T THAT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN TUESDAY NOT SATURDAY OMG DID YOU KNOW?” (Yes, of course you knew. Of course. Sigh.)

Reporting may be slow to get going. On my first day out, my publicist KP Simmon set up a bam-kick-kaPOW-style release day blitz. We had 1200 “adds” on Goodreads, a ton of blogger interest, and we’d promo-d our little butts off. Guess how many copies I sold that day! No, seriously, guess!




I cried. I wailed. I whined to my besties Lyla and Paisley. Until the next morning when Amazon decided to dump 150 sales onto my report within half an hour.

Seems like the system had had a glitch and hadn’t been reporting my first day’s sales in real time. Oops.

People can return e-books within 7 days, even if they’ve read the book. And they will. It’s a little-known fact about Amazon that a generous handful of nefarious readers use it like a library – buying, reading, and returning within that seven-day window. For example, in the past nine days, 197 people have returned their digital copies of PICTURE PERFECT to Amazon.



2. ARM THYSELF with coping supplies and mechanisms.

Chocolate, trashy TV, wine, hot showers, time for long jogs, spa treatments, and more “spa treatments” (ifyouknowwhatImean) are all appropriate and to be indulged in whenever needed.


3. SURROUND THYSELF with people who love you no matter what.

– My cutie boyfriend, known on Twitter as ‘The Boy,’ knew that he shouldn’t ask me about my sales totals. Ever, under any circumstances. Ever. EVER. And he didn’t. So I didn’t kill him. (Win/win?)

– My publicist, KP Simmon, was on standby cheerleading duty for that first week. She even called me just to scream at me about how great my sales were.

– My besties, Lyla Payne and Paisley Grant, were on 24-hour (and I do mean 24-hour) text message emergency support for my all-caps freakouts of panic and self loathing. And maybe a little bit of loathing at mean reviewers, too. Shhhhh.


4. FORGIVE THYSELF for all the crud you are about to throw at yourself and others.

– You will, at some point stare at your computer screen for hours on end repeatedly clicking “refresh” on your Amazon page and/or your KDP sales report page. This is normal and allowed for a certain point in time.

– You will be irritable, prone to nervous breakdowns and/or staring into space, obsessive tapping on your calculator (to figure out how much $$$ you’ve made, duh,) snapping at anyone and everyone, and crying at the drop of a hat. You may declare you quit writing, are moving to Belize, or are becoming a hermit and never leaving the house again.

Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes, it’s normal. But at the end of it….



– Get off your butt, work out, and take a shower. Seriously. You’re gonna be gross.

– Make amends for all the crap you threw at people as part of commandment #3. Bask in the love they throw back when they tell you they were happy to put up with your ridiculousness.

– Start writing again. Because when  your sales inevitably drop off, you’re going to be glad you prepped another book to go out there. I promise.


And last, even though it goes without saying – say thank you, to anyone, any time. Reviewers, readers, buyers, retweeters, friends, everyone.

You’re a debut author now, honey. You have a lot to be thankful for.


About Aless:

Alessandra Thomas is a New Adult writer who swears she was in her twenties yesterday. Since that’s sadly untrue, she spends her time looking back on her college years fondly, and writing sexy stories about guys and girls falling in love and really living life for the first time.

When she’s not writing, you can find her with a spoonful of ice cream in one hand and the newest New Adult release in the other.

Picture Perfect is Aless’s first New Adult novel. She had so much fun writing it that it definitely won’t be her last.

Follow Aless on Twitter

Buy PICTURE PERFECT (Aless’s debut New Adult novel that caused all this trouble.)


  1. I’m shocked by how easy (and clearly misused) the amazon return policy is. What a disservice to authors. And how unethical of readers. People are so shady these days.

    I just purchased your book. Looking forward to reading it. And I can promise you I will not return it within the next 7 days. ;)

  2. This was so cute… “- You will, at some point stare at your computer screen for hours on end repeatedly clicking “refresh” on your Amazon page and/or your KDP sales report page. This is normal and allowed for a certain point in time.”

    On the Amazon return issue. I admit to having returned a .99 cent purchase that had numerous typos on every page (they tend to be a peeve of mine). It wasn’t the .99, but the idea that an author would release that kind of work in the first place – I was taking a stand! This is America! I only read about 40% before my teeth hurt from clenching and grinding.

    This was one of my first Kindle purchases. Sort of taking it for a spin. Now I’m getting good at it. I grab a ton of samples and read those before buying – haven’t made a return since. But I am hearing that’s it’s abused by shameless people (or shall we just call them what they are – crooks?) – I hope Amazon comes up with a solution soon – Jeff Bezos is a smart cookie.

    Anyway, congratulations on your book! The sample of Picture Perfect is on my Kindle, perhaps I’ll get to it this weekend. I really enjoyed your post to Pen and Muse, which is becoming a regular reading habit of mine.

    • Carol, we (the Muses) are so happy to hear you’re enjoying Pen and Muse regularly!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this article. I found it very helpful as a first-time author. I love how you inject humor into your writing as well :-)


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